San Diego’s Top Prospect: Casey Kelly

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The San Diego Padres Double-A team is destroying all comers in the Texas League. The San Antonio Missions’ record is 37 and 18, the next closest opponent in the South Division is 6 game back. In contrast the team leading the North Division (the Tulsa Drillers), has a record of 28 and 26. A successful minor league team doesn’t always translate to a successful big league club, but the Padres certainly are not shy of talent.

Today we will focus on the 2011 Baseball America number 31 prospect, and MLB.com’s number 22 prospect – Casey Kelly. Kelly is currently 4 and 2 with a 4.07 ERA through twelve games. Kelly fifth best in the Texas Leagues in strikeouts with 53, just behind Texas’ number one prospect Martin Perez. Kelly’s strikeout to walk ratio is 2.65 and is slightly concerning, in high-A ball he had that same stat up to 5.0. Kelly does average 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings, which is encouraging as well.

Kelly was one of many prospects sent from the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez. The right-hander was selected in the first round of the 2008 draft, and until the trade was also considered the top prospect of the Red Sox organization. Despite his recent struggles at the Double-A level, his ceiling is still very high. Kelly has a simple delivery that isn’t aggressive at all, he has a simple leg kick and throws with little effort. His velocity sits around the low 90’s and has room to improve, he also has a solid change-up.

In the pitcher friendly Petco Park, Kelly should be a good number two or number three starter. Below is a very short video to give you an idea of his delivery.

The Texas League season is still young and we will certainly keep you all posted on his progress, as well as other top prospects in the league.

-Jonathan